Mercedes unveils aero trailer concept

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Mercedes has come up with a trailer design which it reckons cuts wind resistance by 18 per cent and fuel consumption by nearly five per cent.

The aero trailer is the flagship of a new “Truck and Trailer 7plus” initiative being launched by Mercedes-Benz. By taking a holistic approach to the tractor unit and trailer it aims to cut the fuel consumption – and thus also the CO2 emissions of semi-trailer tractors at the same time.

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A front air-dam on the trailer reduces the distance to the tractor unit and lowers the wind resistance by one per cent. Meanwhile side trim panels contribute an eight-per cent improvement. They are slightly drawn-in at the front and characterised by an opening at the rear. This steers the air in the direction of the striking rear diffuser. The diffuser has the shape of a parallelogram and links up with the underbody panelling. This improves the wind resistance by one to two per cent.

A rear end taper measuring slightly more than 400 mm in length forms a crucial part of the aerodynamic concept. It features folding elements to facilitate access to the load compartment. The rear end taper improves wind resistance by a further seven per cent.

In total the aero trailer lowers the wind resistance of the entire semitrailer tractor by approximately 18 per cent. Mercedes-Benz says this results in a reduction in fuel consumption amounting to almost five per cent in real-life road traffic. In the case of an average mileage of 150,000 km a year this means a saving of some 2000 litres of diesel fuel and relieves the burden on the environment to the tune of over five tonnes of CO2 per annum.

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The dimensions of the load compartment are unaffected, but to accommodate the taper at the back of the trailer, it has been extended by half a metre over the current length limit.

Mercedes-Benz said: “It is here that changes to legislation are necessary, as in the case of tail lifts and transportable fork-lift trucks, for instance, where exceptions of a similar magnitude are already granted.”

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